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tv   Newsnight  BBC News  May 23, 2018 11:15pm-12:01am BST

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on the 18th took place last friday on the 18th of may. the police said they have carried out a surge at an address in bishops stortford. that's a summary of the news, newsday is coming up at midnight — now on bbc news it's time for newsnight with emily maitlis a rare and extraordinary insight, we sit down with donald trump's strategist, steve bannon. his ideology underpinned much of donald trump's rhetoric but he rarely gives interviews and public and quoted as the man pulling the strings from the shadows. people say, you are darth vader. it is not so bad having that reputation, i am the rare to make friends. the donald trump's lawyer receive a payment to set up a meeting from the ukraine. the man who broke the storyjoins us live. the work is myjoy and my burden. yes, i would love to spend the rest
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of my life working on the book. i wouldn't have to think about another book. the last of the great american novelist, philip roth has died at the age of 85. we talk to his former wife and our own great british novelist, howard jacobson. good evening, in a uk broadcast exclusive, we talk tonight to one of the pivotal figures of the trump election campaign and the president's chief strategist in the white house for much of that first year in office. steve bannon was brought in to help trump win, in the august before the country went to the polls. it was he who told trump he had a 100% chance of success when the campaign was stalling and mired in controversy over the conduct of its front man. in office he rolled out the controversial travel ban and pushed the america first ideology of economic nationalism. he left the white house seven months later. his focus is now europe, and a vision of nationalist populism throughout the continent.
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last night he came to the czech republic. conservative strategist steve bannon was one of the most influential voices that would help donald trump to victory. a self—described economic nationalist, he believed they could win on a platform of reduced migration. to trump supporters, it offered a renewed sense of pride, and the promise of rising wages. liberals heard it as a "blame the migra nts" strategy. trump's inauguration set the economic agenda from the start. it's going to be only america first. that visceral defiance, attributed to bannon. he cofounded an early cambridge analytica and edited the alt—right news website, breitbart, a virtual rallying spot for trump supporters during the campaign. bannon helped the flagging campaign in the months before polling day, reassuring trump the access hollywood scandal would make no difference. proved right, he was appointed chief strategist
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in the white house for seven months. he disputes that he was fired, but his frustration with trump's family members were legendary. in a book, he was alleged to have called ivanka "as dumb as a brick." outside the white house, he continued his support for political outriders. he supported roy moore for the senate race in alabama, even after accusations of more sexual misconduct with underage women. it was a race they would lose. since then bannon‘s focus has been here in europe, supporting right—wing movements right across the continent, taking delight of the successes of liga, the anti—migrant party of italy recently, and the resounding re—election of viktor orban in hungary. it may be about creation or it may be much more simply about destroying what's already there, the establishment. either way, he believes the populist nationalist movement has, to quote, "history on its side." he appeared at a national front rally in france back in march. the global anti—globalist, rallying crowds of fellow insurgents wherever he goes.
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his european comeback tour has brought him to prague, this time. the czech republic should perhaps start wondering why. well, steve bannon is a man who rarely gives interviews, but last night he sat down with me in prague, where he was appearing at the cevro institute. we talked for more than an hour, about his economic ideologies, accusations that his politics are divisive, even racist, his support of populist nationalism in europe and of course, donald trump. we devote much of this evening to hearing the views of someone who remained so critical to the centre of power during those heady days, and still advises the president on his strategy for the investigation into alleged russian collusion, led by robert mueller and his deputy rod rosenstein. we are now 18 months into the trump presidency. i asked steve bannon how he thought it was going. i think trump's done an extraordinaryjob. i mean if you look at what we laid out, you know, in the campaign
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it is which was a handful of things, number one, stop mass illegal immigration, limit legal immigration, get our sovereignty and jobs back. number two, start to bring jobs back, from mexico and china. and number three, get out of these pointless foreign wars. across the board the economy is at 3%, unemployment, black unemployment, all time, low hispanic unemployment, 17—year low. wages for the working class are starting to rise. i think the most important, his engagement. everybody was afraid that america was going to be isolationist, that america first meant some sort of return to what lindberg wanted in the 30s, and it has been the exact opposite. i mean he promised in his inauguration address, and i think the quote was, you know, we will form new alliances and rejuvenate old ones, and with the civilized world, eradicate radical islamic terrorism from the face of the earth, starting with isis. it hasn't been perfect but i think directionally, he's accomplished a lot. and i think he's very well—positioned for this fall. you talk about direction. if you look from the outside, you see this high staff turnover, these endless lea ks, you see the divisions,
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you see the jobs unfilled at the state department, you see to a certain extent, chaos. is it healthy for america to be governed like that? i think i refer back to the signal and the noise. 0k? donald trump's a disruptor. he's an entrepreneur. the campaign ran like this, he has a certain house style that, at 71 years old, you're not going to change. you have about five or six people directly reporting to him. he's much more comfortable. he has his sea legs now and i think you start to see much more action oriented coming out of the white house. are you one of those? are you back in his circle? well, no, look. he's got the outside guys. i am there. i've got a ca that that i've set up to kind of do messaging. i take everything to attorneys, because i'm in the middle of the mueller investigation, right, the very first thing when mueller brings you in there, the very first thing he wants to know is your conversations with the president. i think that very shortly that either rosenstein is going to take the direct order of the president of the united states or i think rosenstein will be fired.
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you think mueller should be fired? i do not think mueller should be fired. bob mueller is an honorable guy. you know, he's a combat marine. he's somebody who served his country. i don't agree with everything that's been going with the special counsel. but i think he's run it. i hope at some time he does issue the report. rudy giuliani says it's going to be some time. do you think donald trump should testify? i do not think that the president should testify. ijust don't, i don't think it rises to that level. i think he can answer those questions in writing. i do think he ought to answer the questions. why wouldn't you let him, then? because when the president assumes the position of being above the law... he's not above the law. i said he should answer the questions in writing. let's step back for a second. in the reagan, the clinton and the bush administrations, all had situations with this. even with nixon, had situations in this where you had a special counsel or special prosecutor. 0k. trump, unlike the others, waived executive privilege immediately and shipped over 1.1 million documents and then made everybody in the white house go up and answer every question on capitol hill.
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the president should definitely cooperate with the special counsel but i don't think he has to go sit as a witness. i would i would tell rudy that the president shouldn't, unless it's absolutely necessary, the president should answer those questions in writing. you are seen as the architect of the 2016 election, as the man who if you like, closed the deal. trump is unique in american political history. he has his own closer, and one of the things, i came in with 88 days ago now he was down in 12 or 16 points depending how you look at it. double digits in battleground states. hold hillary clinton up as the guardian of a corrupt and incompetent establishment. and donald trump would be the tribune in this kind of populist nationalist right.
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and so to make america great again you know that that had real traction and all trump had to do was give people permission to vote for him, particularly about being the commander. so what was your role? well i came and helped you know recalibrate. they were, they had kind of lost the message he had been criticizing goldstar parents and mexican judges and people would just kind of lost focus i stepped in and just kind of get the thing refocused. all you have to do is deliver trump on a stage right in front of a crowd and use social media to kind of drive people around it. donald trump closed that deal. you told trump that he could win out the access hollywood tape and lives you told trump that he could win after the access hollywood tape and lives grabbing women by the pussy. what made you so sure that voters wouldn't reject the president on on august 13th when he stepped in and took the job as ceo? you know he's 16 points down is down. i said to 100%, metaphysical certitude you will win. if you focus on the handful of messages about the american working man and woman in our country. on billy bush weekend
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where people were losing their heads and running around and you know were going to have mike pence and condi rice run as a ticket and trump's got to drop out of the race. paul ryan says i take back my my support of donald trump, and everybody is bailing out i said look, as we went around this thing, i said you still have 100% certainty you're going to win. he got up say don't give me a hundred percent, tell me what the real numbers are. they‘ re fighting for their country. trump had talked about grabbing women by the pussy. you've now said that the time's up movement is the most important movement... it's the competing movement to the populist nationalist movement yes is very powerful right. handmaid's tale as a political movement. so he's not going to make things difficult. i think in the irony i think i tell people that it was divine providence that allowed our band of pirates to win the presidency
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with donald trump on election day, kind of divine intervention. but the great irony, you know president trump for some reason triggers this time's up movement. so that's one of the reasons i think they're so empassioned. so why did you back roy moore for on the senate race in iowa? he was accused of sexual misconduct against underage girls. hang on, hang on, hang on. i don't believe the charges against roy moore. i've looked at the charges. i don't believe the charges. ijust don't believe it. you don't sit here thinking i've got it wrong. no i think there's a big lesson there's certainly a lesson for the evangelical right, that the that the establishment republicans or mitch mcconnell would rather have a democrat in that seat than to have someone that say a member of the evangelical right. no i do not believe the charges. you were the white house's chief strategist. one of the first things
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you put in place was the travel ban from seven majority muslim countries on the campaign trail. many will remember that trump called for total and complete shut down of muslims entering the country. so the ban was anti—muslim wasn't it. no it wasn't. this is about extreme vetting. this is about vetting of the people we couldn't have the problems that occurred in europe. you know and we had in the united states this is all about reinventing what we do. a total shutdown of muslims entering the country. that was his line. it was like that before i got there. i don't ever remember him using that line about no muslims. this by the way the ban included countries like iraq. after people came forward with better vetting techniques they were taken off the list. and so this was by the way this was this was about the president of the united states the commander in chief
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which i think the supreme court's going to going to support having the ability to make sure that he can keep the country safe and in extreme vetting. he said we are having problems with muslims, we're having problems with muslims coming into the country now. well we did have problems because radical radical islamic terror came over. they did ok with the radical islamic terrorism. donald trump has gone out of his way to embrace muslim countries. look at look at what just happened with thejcpoa. the central tenet, pompeo gave the 12 points yesterday. the bulk of those points are about interconnecting iranian behavior with its expeditionary exporting of terrorism against sunni arab countries, muslim countries. so how can anybody sit there and say donald trump has not been someone that's embraced the nations of the nations that are tied to islam? i'm saying he pulled out the iran deal because he thought that both iran's efforts to get a nuclear weapon and most importantly that its behavior with
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hezbollah was a problem with the nations in the middle east and the nations in the gulf and israel. yes, he absolutely did. it was not looked to to mock muslims and i think no president that i've seen in living memory has done what president donald trump has done and gotten no credit for working with muslim nations or the world for their security and peace. i want to get to steve bannon the idealogue. you told the hollywood reporter darkness is good, dick cheney, darth vader, satan, that's power. it only helps us when they get it wrong meaning. well you know that people are particularly the democratic left in the opposition party media, that if you have a you know because that was very unknown at that time being on the campaign, that if you if you have this and they all say, "oh, you're darth vader", you know, "you're satan", and ijust said, "hey, you know, it's not so bad having that reputation". i'm not there,
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i'm not there to make friends. i'm not there to have the media be my buddy. i'm not there to impress democrats. i'm there to do a job and so i said "hey, if that's what..." the guy was saying, "they think you're dick cheney. they think you're darth vader. they think you're satan". and i said, "you know, darkness is good because darkness puts a... puts out a something of being a honey badger, that you don't care and you're just going to get the job done. so i'm not worried about my... i'm not worried about my image and not worried about if i'm looked at as a nice guy or somebody that you're going to have a beer with. i couldn't care less. i'm there. you know, i served in the military. i come from kind of a blue collar democratic family. i'm there because i believe in this populist movement. i believe in this nationalist movement. i have been working on it since really the financial crisis of 2008. in our viewers' minds, you are the man who has driven a nationalistic, divisive, dangerous, arguably racist agenda right into the mainstream. you've emboldened white supremacists. you've allowed, as one person put it to me, the ku klux klan... see, this is the opposition party.
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this is why the media has no credibility. this is why the great bbc and the financial times of london and the economist and the new york times and the washington post and the wall street journal, all the mainstream media, which are basically the communications department for the global elites. ok, this is... explain to me. this is why you get it because you sit there... nonsense. economic nationalism, and i've said this in every speech i've ever given, and you look at the policies of donald trump and it backs it up 100%. economic nationalism doesn't care about your race, doesn't care about your gender, doesn't care about your ethnicity, doesn't care about your religion. what it cares about... doesn't care about your sexual preference. the only thing it cares about is are you a citizen of the united states of america? look at donald trump's policies, ok? donald trump's policies, by limiting mass illegal immigration... mass illegal immigration is a scam of the globalists, supported, supported by the bbc and the wall street journal and the financial times. hang on... because it's there to suppress the wages of the black and hispanic working class by giving unlimited competition on labour. donald trump has gone out
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of his way to restrict — even without having built a wall — to restrict illegal alien labour. and you're starting to see wages rise. you've seen wages in agriculture and construction start to rise. you have the lowest black unemployment in history, the lowest hispanic unemployment in 20 years. those things didn'tjust happen. they're the active agency of donald trump and these policies, these policies are the... not just least racist, the racist policies before are to have unfair competition. help me understand economic nationalism, because it sounds like a grandiose phrase that has no basis in economics. it is a "blame the foreigner" strategy at heart. oh, no, no, no. look at this for a second. first of all, england's a great example because this radical idea of free trade, the british didn't do it when they built their empire. right now, there's not a world of free trade. the united states is open for trade but we're against a mercantilist power in china. the united states is a tributary state to china. we're jamestown to their great britain. we send them natural gas and soybeans and hogs and beef and boeing jets and apple products.
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excuse me, we don't send boeing jets and apple products anymore because they do those injoint ventures in china. we send virtually no high value—added manufacturing. that can't continue. there's not... this is one thing that the global elite and their mouthpieces in the financial times make it seem like it's the second law of thermodynamics that these jobs happen to be shifted to china. that's total bs. so... it is not. those jobs can come back, if you enforce reasonable trade... they're a mercantilist power. they don't play by any of the rules and yet the elites in this country cheer them on. "oh, if china just gets wealthy or develops a middle class, they would be a liberal democracy". well, guess what? that's wrong. this is more than just economics. 0k? when we talk about tariffs, it's just not about some sort ofjobs, it's just not about prices of products. it's about dignity, it's about self—worth. it's about people who feel that they mean
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something to their community. you make such a forceful argument. if it is all about trade, why do you go around the world befriending fascists? why do you allow david duke of the ku klux klan to say that you've been really helpful? why do you...? stop, this is the mainstream media. these guys don't exist unless you make them a big deal. they‘ re totally irrelevant as far as... first off, they're all cranks. donald trump has said that, i have said that. they're all cranks and some very... you know, spencer and duke, these guys are cranks. the only reason they exist is because msnbc and bbc is down there with the camera giving them a platform. if you cut them off, nobody would ever hear from them. look at the company you keep in europe. you told a rally of le pen supporters when they call you a racist, wear it as a badge. 0k. but don'tjust go there. what was the build up? i said donald trump has the lowest black unemployment in history. donald trump has the lowest hispanic unemployment in 25 years. if you look at the policies of donald trump, ok? anybody, martin luther king would be proud of them, of what he's done for the black and hispanic community for jobs. so i said if what they're going to do... you think martin luther king would be proud of donald trump as president?
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his economic policies to black... by the way, it's the lowest unemployment in recorded history. you don't think martin luther king wouldn't be proud? look at the unemployment we had in the black community five years ago. you don't think martin luther king would sit there and go "yes, you're putting young black men and women to work?" the lowest unemployment we've had in history and wages starting to rise among the working class and you finally stop the illegal alien labour forces coming in and competing with them every day and destroying the schools and destroying the health care? absolutely. do you think getting out of this... look the capitalist and globalists, they want unlimited labour. right? because that's why they can pay 10 bucks an hour and not pay for the schools and not pay for the health care. so when i was sitting there with le pen, i said, "when you have that record and they call you a racist, it means they can't debate the facts. wear that with pride," and i wear with pride and when they call me a racist, i go, "you know why you are you doing that? because you don't want to talk about economic nationalism. you don't want to talk about that it has nothing to do with race or gender or ethnicity or religion. you don't want to talk about what the facts are. you want to smear someone".
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here's the beauty of it. it's a loser. 0k? identity politics is what hillary clinton ran behind. the smart people in the democratic party understand that. they understand they have to have a counter—narrative to trump's economic policies and you're seeing the smartest people in the democratic party going, "hey we can't keep doing this identity politics thing because it's not working". let me ask you to be clear then, "the message on the statue of liberty is now past its sell by date". that's not true. "we don't want your poor, don't bring us your poor". that's not true. listen, we let in more people than any nation on earth. what we have to do is to focus on american citizens. 0k? what we have to do is make sure that it's immigration that's correct for the country. 50% of the families in this country, 50% can't put $400 together in cash in case of emergency. that's a disgrace. before we leave this completely, and i know you don't mind because you raised martin luther king, there is one specific set of events when you were in power, the charlottesville protests. richard spencer a prominent white supremacist was a speaker. he's somebody who proposes "peaceful ethnic
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cleansing" in europe. after the death of a female protester, president trump criticized "violence on many sides". president trump was saying this... i'm from the south, ok. i'm from virginia. that was a protest about the statues of confederate generals, and what president trump is saying because he said "where does it end? at mount vernon, the washington monument? does it end in the founders that were slave holders? does it end in people like lincoln and other people that might have not had the sensibilities about african—americans we have today?" his point was on that original protest. there were good people on both sides. that's a protest of some people saying, "hey these statues are about southern culture and they have to stay," and other people will tell... he wasn't talking about statues. hang on, hang on, either way. no, he was talking and he was talking about the protests but he's talking about that protest. 0k. and he said, "they're good people on both sides". right? because there are people that want
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the statues to come down immediately or to be put up. the violent protesters and this deals with the richard spencers and that crowd of neo—nazis and neo—confederates and kkk that have no place in political society, ok? and the charlottesville police should have never... they come in there looking for a fight. they never should have given them a permit. and that's because local authorities let these guys go. these guys are thugs and looking for trouble but however, the antifa guys are just as bad. they're there, they come fully loaded. they're looking for a fight. that was a dumb thing to say wasn't it? i mean in the heat of it, it was a dumb thing to say. i don't agree with that at all. i think that he was saying, "we look at context," and i think he had the most brilliant thing. his point was, where does it end? you're going to take down mount vernon? are you going to take down the washington monument? you know, washington was a slaveholder. you left the white house shortly after that episode. was it because you fell out with...? no it's one, it's one year, it's one year. i told maggie haberman very early on, in fact, i went tojohn kelly at the first of august. i said, "i'm out of here on the 14th. i came to work on the campaign on the 14th of august and i left in the fourth...
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you got fired. oh no, absolutely not. in fact ask, john kelly, john dadd, i went to those guys on the first of august and they went to the president said "hey, when reince leftjohn kelly's coming in, i'll take off". you called ivanka dumb as a brick. who? ivanka, "dumb as a brick." is that right? i can neither confirm or deny. i haven't read fire and fury. donjr, "treasonous behavior." but i did correct that later said that was for manafort. donjr is a real patriot. he's a good guy. it's hard to come back. i love him but it was a dumb... if you've fallen out with the trump family members it's hard to come back. i don't think so. i think the president is a very practical guy. is he an imperfect vessel for revolution? you know, donald trump is a unique combination of characters. he's an entrepreneur. i think people forget that he didn't come from corporate america. he didn't come from big corporations. he's a street fighter. if we had not had donald trump, we wouldn't have not won in 2016. let's go to the midterm, right. the democratic party have been wishing for this since 2:30 in the morning on the 9th of november 2016. what they want is a do—over. they bitched and moaned and whined about everything. "it's russia's fault.
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it's that it wasn't the popular vote". they've had every excuse in the world. so they finally get what they want, they're gonna have a do—over this november 6th. it's going to be an up or down vote on the impeachment of trump. i mean he talked about that. you think he's going to win? or you think he can hold on to both chambers? i think we'll hold on to both chambers. i didn't think at first the way things were going with the power of the time's up movement and the energy and the time's up movement. i thought the people were unfocused trying to run on tax cuts. you can't, it's got to be very simple. to bring the base out, to bring the deplorables out. you're going to have a proposition. it's a national election. donald trump is on the ballot in every congressional district. you're not voting for a congressman versus another congressman. you're voting for donald trump versus nancy pelosi. and... because the first thing the first thing that she's going to do, the first thing she's going to do is impeach him. and so i think you make it an up or down vote and then everything goes up underneath that.
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all the great economic policies of don, the national security, the deals he's trying to get done with north korea, what he's doing in the persian gulf, what he's doing with iran, destroying isis. it all rolls up into one simple question. do you want him impeached or not? and the democrats, by the way, the smart democrats, rahm emanuel, and guys likejoe scarborough and even nancy pelosi, say, "oh no, we can't talk about impeachment. we can't talk about impeachment," because they've done the polling. they understand if we make this about impeachment on november 6 in an up or down vote, the deplorables will turn out. and i got to tell people, i think the intensity of this campaign as it picks up over the summer is... we're going to have a turn out like a presidential election of 2008. it's going to be massive, it's going to blow out numbers for any midterm. well, his second presidential run is this year, his second presidential run. because it's going to prove whether he's got a presidency or not, because the democrats are full throated. they want to do one thing. he's triggered them. they don't think that he's a legitimate president. europe. as well as the national front, you've supported fidej in hungary, viktor orban‘s party. and the recent success of matteo salvini, the lega in italy. is that what you think the future is, the end of liberal democracies in europe?
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well, why do you say liberal democracies? the last time i looked, they were all voted into office. they're populist. that's another thing. the bbc and the financial times the economist are all in meltdown. 0k? guess what? the globalisation project that you promoted was wrong. 0k? it didn't work. it's time to embrace that. and when people in hungary and the czech republic or in italy want to take their country back and want to get their sovereignty back and want to get their citizens back, it's not the end of the world. you guys all say, "it's the end of the liberal democracies, the rise of fascism". look at what happened in italy, and italy had a right—wing populist party and the left—wing populist party. you had donald trump and bernie sanders. and when you have orban... and it came together, kind of what i said. i kind of threw it out there. i said, if you could put your basic economic differences aside and join up, you would actually have something
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that had over 60% of the vote and you'd have real power and you could show what populism could do. what i think that italy shows is that we're beyond the left—right paradigm that we've had. we're in a new age. so it doesn't matter to you when viktor orban is talking about defending christian europe or when he's saying he doesn't want a "colorful country?" you know what that means. i think viktor orban is a is a patriot of hungary and i think the people of hungary have to decide that. i think when... what does patriot mean? because it means somebody who doesn't want people of other colours. when viktor orban says something about protecting thejudeo—christian west, ok, i don't think that's the end of the world. and by the way, donald trump and the deplorables, the people the hillary clinton say are irredeemable, they believe that western christendom and thejudeo—christian west and the values that we have, ok, even for secular people, are worth defending. and i think that's what this movement's about. the united states is not going to be isolationist. we want to be allies. what we can't. .. what you can't be is a protectorate. it's time that the europeans and nato stepped up and were a partner to the united states, to try to defend the west.
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last question, about allies. you were there with theresa may and donald trump at the white house. what does he think of her? because there is all this admiration for brexit. yet emmanuel macron comes in and he's the new best friend and he's going to choose the trade deal with the eu. we knew that. well, i think that... look, macron and the president have... no way to say it, a special workshop. you've got to remember macron was a rothschild's banker so he knows how to how to focus on a client. i mean he's done a very good job of building a personal relationship with president trump. president trump likes him a lot and by the way, they had a great time in the united states and macron goes to congress and basically dumps all over the populist nationalist movement. hejust has... they have a relationship. i think people have to go... and theresa may? i think theresa may, it's not he doesn't have a relationship. he very much loves the united kingdom. he's built a golf course in scotland. his family heritage is from scotland. he has
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a very deep feeling for the british people. nigel farage is quite close to him and so he can... are we going to get that trade deal post brexit? oh yeah. i don't think there's any doubt, that trade deal with the united kingdom and the united states, as we told them when i was there, when the guys came in, we said, "as soon as you're eligible to negotiate it, which is not yet, you'll get a trade deal very quickly". so i don't think it is... i don't think there's any doubt that the united kingdom will get a trade deal and one that's a fair trade deal between two partners. would steve bannon ever stand for office? no, i'm not a politician. i'm a street fighter. steve bannon, thank you. thank you for having me. steve bannon there. and there has been movement in washington today, after a bbc investigation learned of allegations that donald trump's lawyer, michael cohen, was paid by ukraine to arrange talks between the country's president and president trump. bbc journalist paul wood broke the story earlier — he's spoken to sources who claim ukraine's petro poroshenko arranged to pay cohen at least $100,000 to help make sure the meeting, which took place at the white house injune, was more than a brief photo op. cohen and the ukranian government have denied the allegations. pauljoins us now from the white house.
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explain what you found? the meeting was agreed through official channels but president petro poroshenko needed something he could portray as proper talks, something substantive. you have to look at what happened in the election. details were leaked from a ukrainian investigation into paul manafort, trump's campaign manager. he denies the allegations, of having millions of dollars from a pro—russian party in the ukraine. sources in kieft told us that petro poroshenko authorised the leak and he did it on the assumption that hillary clinton would win and that trump was a pro—russian candidate. if that really happened, it was a disastrous miscalculation. ukraine made an enemy of the new us president at a time when it was fighting against russian backed separatists. poroshenko needed to build bridges and we are told by sources in ukraine that he asked two associates to make a back channel to the trump administration. they eventually found michael cohen.
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they said he was paid $400,000. another source says it may be more. there is no suggestion that trump knew about this or benefited from the money. there has been a furious statement saying that this is fake news, allegations designed to damage american ukrainian allegations. michael cohen deny it and so do those in the back channel. there has been a furious statement saying that this is fake news, allegations designed to damage american ukrainian allegations. michael cohen deny it and so do those in the back channel. basically, in this story, everybody denies everything. thank you forjoining us. "i'd like to have one big final idea", said philip roth. "i'd like to have one big book to work on until the day i die. then i won't ever have
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to start a new book again". the death of the great american novelist was announced today. roth wrote of america and he wrote ofjudaism, but perhaps more than anything else, he wrote of what it was like to be a sexual male. he created alter egos, he created portnoy, the human stain, american pastoral and the plot against america. he wrote like he was running out of time, producing a novel a year well into his 70s. his characters, like the man himself, sometimes angry, always looking for meaning, connection and moments of joy, however brief. here he is speaking to kirsty on newsnight in 2009. you think that happiness in life is very fleeting? shall i speak from personal experience? why not? it is a rare state. it is not the normal state, i don't think. it happens from time to time. but it's not your
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natural state ? no, i think not. nor is unhappiness. i think one goes along in neutral. well roth was known above all for his ability to write about the human condition — something he took inspiration from from the people in his life. one of those was his former wife, the actress claire bloom, who spent 17 years as roth's partner before their divorce in 1995. she went on to write a memoir describing their time together, and shejoins me now. also with me is the author howard jacobsen. thank you forjoining us. i imagine a complicated and confusing set of emotions for you today. totally so, and yet above all, i think i feel immensely sad. i can't pretend to be a grieving widow. we hadn't seen each other for 22 years. but i am grieving and i think when you said, the last great american novelist, you were right. i mean, his generation is pretty well gone. there's don delillo, thomas pynchon, paul auster, who is younger, think.
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i would like to ask howard if he thinks the novel is a dying concern? i hope it's not. but i don't know where the great writers are now. howard? i think there are probably great writers and i think there will always be great writers. what makes philip roth's death so sad, i think, is that it's the end of the idea of being a writer. i don't think we're going to get, i can't imagine another writer of his quality you will enjoy the fame he enjoyed, the flat he enjoyed. he gave an immense amount of pleasure to an enormous number of readers all over the world. it is a writer of prose going to be able to connect in this way again?
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why not, then? why not? well, there are so many other ways that they go now, that they can go into writing for television or for any other medium. philip gave his life to literature. did he? cause you were with him for, what? 1517 years. 15—17 years. did the writing overtake anything it else in your marriage? —— everything else. i can't exactly say the marriage in because we had some wonderful times together. we had some free times together but basically, he wrote. he went into his studio at the end of the garden at a certain hour, 8:30am every day, i think came back for lunch, went back and wrote until 7pm. it was very disciplined. that's what he did. he had a huge idealism about america in those early days, howard, a sense america had been a place that sort of saved him and the
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world. i don't half envy him having america. it is such a horrific thing for a writer of stature to be... he was in the right place at the right time. it's a big subject. whenever he wrote about himself, he also wrote about america. there was never a sense in which you could feel this was just a story of a particular man with his passions and so one who happened to be here. every novel about his character was also a novel about america. i don't think you can make a distinction, the jewishness, the americanness, the maleness, they all coherent in his books which is what made everyone of them, really, even the smallest, even the ones that don't work well, everyone is a little masterpiece, i think. it's astonishing how many great works he wrote. he could not do a bad one.
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he could upset people and fail but everyone was a thrilling book. on that note and i started by saying it was a complicated set of emotions for you, iimagine, claire, you wrote with anger about him. you wrote about the difficulty of his behaviour. but i also wrote about our love and people seem to not want to see that. there was, and i don't want to discuss it, philip has not been dead for 2h hours and i am not here to vilify or say anything against him because firstly, i loved him, secondly, i admired him immensely, and... yes, he was a writer and you followed him or you didn't stay there. and a tumultuous writer. i mean, it's not for me to talk about him as a man but i can't imagine that as a man he was a tumultuous as well. that was a favourite word of his,
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there is a marvellous nine about, "for a pure sense of being alive, for a pure, tumultuous sense of being alive, nothing beats the nasty side of experience", and i would say for a pure sense of tumultuousjoy in life, nothing beats reading philip roth novel. they were so powerfully alive, exultant and raging. and those sentences, emily, no one wrote... when i opened a new philip roth, never mind the characters or what happened, never mind the story, everything was in the sentences. those clauses, those paragraphs in which sentence followed sentence, like waves of the sea crashing upon one another, arguing with one another, expostulated, exasperated sentences which crashed over you as a reader. i mean, you've drowned in philip roth, willingly drown sometimes. it was a thrilling experience. does it said in you when you see only what or younger generation come in and start talking about the problematic character of his novels? it is a very difficult word, that, but whether it was in
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how he depicted women or how he talked about sex. do you think that is going to be a problem for generations now? it has been a problem all along, and a problem he had to deal with. he dealt with it sometimes with great aplomb and dignity and he knew that these were irrelevancies and every other novel is new, did they not? yes. these were irrelevant because the man—made art. how will you remember him? through the writing or through...? no, i remember him from day to day, joy and happiness and... education, i got an education from him. i mean, i'd always read a great deal but he introduced me to the eastern european writers, to so many... wonderful treasures that i had not known. how will i remember him? i remember him in the country when we
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used to go for walks. you know, i remember thejoyful, wonderful times, peaceful times. to know him, to remember him as a writer is a kind of agony that he went through. every day. as he said, he would go into his studio and there would be a blank piece of paper and he had to fill it. sometimes he came out of the studio exultant, as you say, tumultuously exulta nt! sometimes deeply, deeply depressed. that said of him existed but that was not my side. my side of him pleasure and joy and love. thank you forjoining us. very lovely to have you here. and if you would like to hear more about the life of philip roth then don't go to bed just yet, because there is something worth sticking around for.
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the imagine arts series broadcast a special two—part film about the writer four years ago, featuring an extended conversation between roth himself and presenter alan yentob. you can see the first part immediately after this programme, and you can catch part two after newsnight tomorrow. they'll also be available on the iplayer. that's all we have time for tonight. evan is here tomorrow. goodnight. good evening. another day that has brought sunshine and warmth for many, but it has been turning a little cloudy across southern areas. we have seen some showers, that is the theme we take with us into tomorrow. an increasing risk of thunder and showers, especially towards the south. courtesy of this weather front, it towards the south. courtesy of this weatherfront, it doesn't towards the south. courtesy of this weather front, it doesn't look like much on the chart but it will
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introduce moisture and energy, giving the kick that it needs to spawn those showers and storms. don't be surprised if you are awoken tonight by the odd passing thunderstorm. across southern areas during tomorrow morning, north—east england seeing a lot of low cloud, missed and murk rolling in from the north sea, a treat as we have a lot of sunshine. storms going westwards across england and wales, but it should brighten up for east anglia and the south—east, sunshine in the afternoon. you cannot roll out a shower. showers in northern ireland later in the day, but there will be some sunshine away from the north sea coasts. some mist, murk and low cloud is likely to hug the coastline, making for a fairly cool day. 15 in aberdeen, the best of sunshine up to 23 degrees. during tomorrow night, we see further showers and thunderstorms drifting up
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showers and thunderstorms drifting up from the near continent. a little further north at this stage, turning misty and murky with cloud in eastern scotland, north—east england, we start friday not cold by any england, we start friday not cold by a ny stretch england, we start friday not cold by any stretch of the imagination. 1a degrees. on friday, thundery downpours pushing even further north, into northern england and in the south, a lot of cloud, i suspect that further north, and in scotland, away from the north sea coasts, staying misty and murky, quite a lot of sunshine. 20 in belfast. the temperatures in the south down a little bit, given the extra cloud. in the weekend, we tap into this very warm air in deed from the near continent, bringing it in our direction. from the south, we have further weather systems and further areas of heavy rain. especially across southern and south—western parts of the uk. the forecast for the bank holiday weekend brings plenty of sunshine, it will be warm.
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temperatures in the high 20s that there is the continued risk of some thunderstorms. that's all from me for now, good night. in singapore, the headlines. new claims about michael cohen — president trump's personal lawyer. the bbc has learned he received a secret payment to fix talks between the ukrainian president and mrtrump. mr cohen denies receiving the payment and president poroshenko's office calls the claim a flagrant lie. with doubt still surrounding president trump's summit with kimjong un, china tells the us that "now is the time" to make a peace deal with north korea. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme: yulia skripal, who along with her father,


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